It has to be said Gateshead Old Town Hall, is a truly special venue, seldom few bands seem to play here which always leaves us slightly bemused. However, this evening the venue is awash with anticipation as we hurry in, given that its been a particularly difficult trek to the venue this evening with the impending Great North Run.
We take our seats just in time for the lights to go down as Gruff Rhys makes his way to the stage, introducing the prelude to his set, a short film setting the scene with an introduction to John Evans. Gruff follows this by plotting John Evans journey, first to London and beyond.
Every track features a particularly interesting story to accompany it, this evening goes to prove that Gruff Rhys is a multi-talented man. Not only is he a lyrical genius he’s a comedian, storyteller and all round nice guy. Tracks like ‘Lolo’ and ‘Welcome to the Wilderness’ stand out from his newest long player American Interior.
They’re amply supported by a variety of tracks including ‘Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru,’ ‘Shark Ridden Waters’ and a personal favourite of ours ‘Sensations in the Dark.’ This evening is perfectly crafted, it flows brilliantly, accompanied by impressive visuals and some of the best stage banter around. This is so much more than your average set, this is so much more of an experience. To top the evening off Gruff plays another favourite of ours in the form of ‘Candylion’ from the album of the same name.
This evening is made that little bit more enchanting by the appearance of the original John Evans character used in a variety of the images displayed this evening. The Felt Lady who created him currently has an exhibition at the Old Town Hall's sister venue The Sage, so we were allowed to see the particularly special creation up close and personal.
We leave the hall spellbound and delighted to have witnessed such a genius in the flesh. A sold out crowd held in the palm of his hand for a little under two hours. A majestic performance from one of the great of UK music so few artists have this power and brilliance.